Calls mount for Parliament to urgently fill SABC board vacancies

The SABC’s financial crisis was thrust back in the spotlight on Tuesday morning when it emerged that salaries were not paid on time.

FILE: The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - There are calls for Parliament to urgently fill South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board vacancies so that it can focus on turning the cash strapped corporation around.

The SABC’s financial crisis was thrust back in the spotlight on Tuesday morning when it emerged that salaries were not paid on time.

The delay, which the SABC blamed on a technical glitch, sparked widespread panic among staff who thought the public broadcaster had run out of money.

The Save Our SABC (SOS) Coalition says the panic from SABC employees was justified given the financial crisis at the broadcaster.

The SABC is in dire financial trouble and unable to meet certain commitments; it has also explained that the bulk of its budget is spent on salaries.

SOS Coalition spokesperson Thandi Smith says the SABC needs urgent attention to make sure things don't get even more worse.

“We have lost a sense of urgency around appointing the board members and we have to be putting pressure on Parliament and the president to fast track these processes and get it sorted.”

In the last few months, seven board members resigned amid disagreements on governance issues and possible mass retrenchments of staff.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications is now sifting through applications for new board members, the names of which are expected to be handed over when the legislature re-opens in February.

Meanwhile, calm has been restored after Tuesday morning’s glitch with salary payments after the SABC confirmed that the matter has been resolved.

The SABC said in a brief statement: “The SABC reported earlier this morning that its employees had not been paid their salaries as expected, due to a technical error experienced by the financial institution. The SABC would like to advise that the financial institution has resolved the technical error and salaries are being paid.

“The corporation would like to thank its employees for their patience, support and apologise for any inconvenience caused, whilst the SABC was addressing the matter with the financial institution.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)